What a hell of a week it has been! For the first time ever we gathered all Le Wagon 57 drivers and teachers from all around the world in the same spot, at the same time. 19 cities representing 12 countries over 4 days, that's something.
We love Portugal
Digging back into Le Wagon's history and DNA it didn’t take us long to agree that Ericeira, Portugal, would be the perfect spot for such an event. With its non-stop sunny weather, high quality waves and its maze of small streets packed with the smell of grilling fish and sounds of clinking glasses, this place is an absolute must-go!
But the real treasure of Ericeira is… the Portuguese people. They are among the most welcoming and helpful humans you could dream of. Many thanks to José, our host, and his incredible connections all over the city, also to the local representative who gave us access to Ericeira Business Factory for 2 days. There is no way we can thank you all enough!
A retreat is the best way to create bonds between people
It sounds a bit cliché to say a retreat is the best team building event you can pull off for your company, but it actually is. A few weeks ago we were more about messaging each other over Slack asking for business relevant details, rather than engaging in deep personal talks with our colleagues across the globe. Funnily enough, from the beginning Le Wagon has been about people. From students to teachers, we’re one united patchwork of individuals, coming from various horizons with different goals and passions, gathering around a common appetite for coding and thriving at the idea of building great products. However we never “completely” commit in such a thing on a global scale with our team.
It has now been done. At first sight, the magic happened as everyone was really psyched to put a real face on our respective Slack avatars! (hint: the Playa de Ribeira d’Ilhas is surely responsible for that). Right after landing in Portugal, the whole crew gathered around sangrias and a buffet full of Portuguese specialties, while our COO kicked the event off with a speech (our CTO was enjoying a few waves at this point, but he’s allowed ;) )
From there, it was pure bliss revolving around workshops, yoga, surfing, good food and parties with too many smiles to count them all!
There's even two videos to prove it!
But we were also amazingly serious!
Don’t be fooled by the pictures, half of our time in Ericeira was dedicated to work. We split our group to ensure everyone gets some proper food for thought on their way back home. While the city drivers shared tips and tricks related to their previous experiences, the teachers got back to students’ mode and… just killed it. In less than five hours of a hackaton, they built four amazing products ready to use on our various platforms and even pulled-off a Demo Day of their own!
We now have a livecode battle platform, a chrome extension enabling the localisation of our documentation examples (quite important to have a real local restaurant name when you are building an ordering system. Yep.), an index of all the companies using Ruby and Ruby on Rails in the countries we are operating in and a nice upgrade of our ticketing system in order to quickly fix minor issues when our students are stuck somewhere. Again, in 5 hours. Big up guys!
It’s too early to see all the benefits of such an event but only one week later, new connections have been formed, a few trips have been organised to work remotely from one location or another and even more help has been provided or offered than before (which is truly amazing when you already know the level of commitment and care we are all able to deploy from the beginning of this adventure).
Last but not least, be sure that we'll do it again next year! We don’t really know if retreats are the elixir of happiness at work, but for sure, it’s one of the main ingredients. So let’s enjoy it without moderation!
Le Wagon team.